Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bikecamping - Pertak, Part 4

Early day..
Roger and I decided that after breaking camp, we ride toward the first metal suspension bridge, take some snapshots and move on.
I woke up 06:30am, tried to locate my bar of soap.
It was missing from my shelter.
Not only that, the food pack was also gone!
I took my Surefire Aviator A2 flashlight and shined through a path normally used by the orang asli and their dogs.
Found the pack about 10 meters away.
The food was gone.
Dogs raided our campsite and made away with what they can salvage.
Two packs of instant noodles, gone. 
I managed to salvage a teabag and beef in a foil pack. That was everything the dogs had spared.

A successful outing: the bikepackers

A river-crossing

Slow-shutter shot of the river
Sleep-depravation, scavengers, insect bites and discomfort: its all a part of camping.
I re-lived my younger days - camping in the jungle.
The only difference this time: is the bicycle that came along.
After taking some snapshots, we broke camp.
Took me about 15-minutes to dismantle the fly sheet and pack everything back to the pannier.
We shed a few kilogrammes, but the bags are still heavy.
After clearing up the place, we rode towards the first suspension bridge.
Roger went on crossing to the other side of the river while I spent some time snapping some slow-shutter shots with my Canon Powershot G1X and my trusty Slik Mini-Pro table top tripod.
Everything worked out fine as we rode out towards Kg Orang Asli Pertak.
The bikes held on pretty well across the offroad section and as we climbed towards the village, Roger had a chain-slip.
That was easily fixed as we made our way towards the Dam where we staged our trip.
I need to answer my early-morning toilet call, so, this is the perfect place to do it.
We took a break in the area and spoke to a couple of elderly Malay men who were resting there.
The rest of the journey was a downhill roll towards Kuala Kubu Baru.
We met two mountain bike cyclists along the way and enjoyed the smooth journey towards town where we had breakfast..

Rolling out

The scenic Dam
At Kuala Kubu Baru
We made a decision to have a late breakfast in town before heading to the train station.
The plan was to visit a noodle shop in town.
There, we had a nice wantan noodle meal at RM4.50 a plate.
Roger and I chatted a bit before heading out to a local bicycle shop. 
After the visit, we rode out to the train station.
With barely minutes to spare, an ETS train bound for KL Sentral zipped past.
Roger had to pack up, so, we gave it a miss.
I bought two Komuter tickets bound for KL.
We had to disembark at Rawang and hopped onboard a Seremban-bound train.
Again, hauling was an issue as we had to walk up a flight of stairs on the bridge linking the terminals.
On a weekend, I wasn't favourable when it comes to the Komuter service.
Its usually packed and crammed like Sardines.
My first choice was an ETS service and the alternative was a KTM intercity train ride.
You can book your seats without worrying about people kicking your bike.
Since this was Roger's first bikepacking trip on a train, well, it was worth the experience...

Makan time!
Waiting for the Komuter

All aboard!

A slow ride to KL Sentral
The train bound for Rawang arrived at 12:10pm.
We boarded with our bikes and gear and got off in Rawang and switched trains.
There was a new coach which was bound for KL Sentral.
By noon, it as already filling up with the weekend crowd.
Later in Sungai Buloh, a bunch of Talibanistas (trouble-makers) boarded to attend the Bersih 3.0 gathering in Dataran Merdeka.
These anti-Government guys are really vocal about their dislike, mostly hard-liners from out of town who came to the city for the purpose of protesting. Well, life is better spent on anything other than that.
We arrived in KL Sentral at 02:00pm and had a round of coffee at Starbucks.
During the break, we reviewed the trip and decided that more is in the offing.
Roger and I later boarded the LRT towards Petaling Jaya.

The journey home and a tire blow-out..
I got off at the University station.
Rigged up the Speed P8, and rode off.
When I was reaching the Avon building after clearing Jalan 223 in Petaling Jaya, I heard the dreaded noise of air hissing.
I slowed down the bike, and realised that I had a blow-out.
First order of the day, was to remove the skewers, take out the tire and see if I could repair the inner tube.
After trying to inflate the tube, it was a no-go.
I just had it replaced and experienced my first blow-out of the year.
The tire was fine as I found no foreign objects embedded in it.
While I was working under the scorching afternoon sun, motorcycles whizzed by. 
No one will stop and help. 
Then on the horizon, I saw a guy on a road bike.
He slowed down and came to a halt near me.
"Hello kawan, okay ka? You pergi it Bersih 3.0 ka?," he asked.
I told him I was on my way home after a tour. 
The roadie offered some comfort by asking whether I needed help. But I think he knew that I was equipped for the worse.
I did an inner tube change, inflated the tire with a C02 cannister.
The tire was half-inflated, so, it was wobbly. 
I later found a spot underneath a flyover near Guinness-Anchor and proceeded to pump air into the tire with my trusty Topeak Mini-Morph. That saved the day as I slowly pedaled towards Subang Jaya.
From SS13, I crossed towards Persiaran Kewajipan.
While I was making my way towards USJ 1, I heard my name being called.
It was SK Yeong of  Lima Bintang cycling group. 
I waved at him and made my way towards Summit.
My ticket home was secured.
So far, the inner tube changed held up. Slowly, but surely, I cycled towards USJ 26. 
The plan was a refreshment break at the Petronas station near USJ 23.
After re-hydrating, I rode towards home, my kidz were happy to see me as I opened the gate..

Future trips
Bikepacking worked for me.
But, I need to work on finding a suitable campsite with no issues on cleanliness. I knew this would be a challenging task, but its worth doing so.
In short, the bikepacking and camping trip was a success. I really enjoyed it and took home some really good memories from the trip...

Bikecamping - Pertak, Part 3

Speed and agility
I love tarp shelters for two reasons: its lightweight and easy to set-up.
Its great for warm weather, but has certain flaws in rainy days.
I prayed that the weather would hold. It did.
After identifying the suitable place to camp, Roger and I wasted no time in setting up our shelters.
It took me about 20-minutes to rig up the shelter's pole and fly sheet support.
I had the ground sheet firmly anchored with a set of aluminium pegs.

The rest of the chore was to secure the shelter and set up my sleeping pad.
With a thermarest mat and a sleeping bag, its taken care of for the night.
Later, we piled some firewood to set up a campfire. This keeps wild animals at bay. 
The campsite was not really ideal, because its quite dirty.
Lots of thrash and empty canned food tins left behind by campers. 

This is an ideal breeding ground for gnats and I paid a hefty price for sleeping in their domain.

Journey to the campsite

An orang asli dog, later, some raided our camp for food

My tarp shelter

At the fireplace
Enter night..
I had my tarp shelter rigged with a Black Diamond Orbit lantern. 
Its small enough to be carried in a pocket and yields enough juice to brighten up the place.
For general lighting, I packed a Black Diamond Apollo lantern. This one has enough juice to light up a small perimeter.
Not as bright as a Camping Gaz 1000 watt lantern, but enough.
The light was failing, so, in-between chores, I took out my MSR hyperflow water filter to get some water for cooking as well as preparing beverages.

Boiling water on my trusty Optimus Svea 123 stove

Roger at work

Dinner time
I unpacked my Optimus Svea 123 hiker's stove. With it, I had two Camping Gaz globetrotter pots. 
With these, I used it to boil the filtered water.
Coffee was in order as I sat down with Roger to review the day's work.
We have set out to bikepack and camp and we did just that.
The rest of the night, was a test of patience and comfort.
I had my shelter rigged with a sleeping pad, so, its enough to insulate my back from the ground and a sleeping bag to keep warm when dew forms in the jungle.
The first half of the night was a torture.
Gnats bit my back, elbow and hands.
It was itchy and irritating.
The humidity was tremendous. Its hard to sleep with sweat trickling down my face.
By 2am, the temperature dropped. 
Insect activities slowed down and this allowed me to sleep for at least three hours.
That was the highlight of my day in the jungle!

Bikecamping - Pertak, Part 2

Keep rolling, rolling, rolling..
After a good fill, we toured Kuala Kubu Baru town.
Then, we made a turn towards the road to Fraser's Hill.
The journey was a straight 10km climb towards the Selangor Dam information centre.
With 20kgs of gear on the Ortlieb backroller, cranking the bike uphill was a real challenge.
I had 8-speeds on my 20" folding bike. This, in my humble opinion, is enough to take on moderate gradient and long climbs.
Anything steeper, the bike wouldn't go further.
We took the first 9km really well and decided to take a break at a shaded area, just  a few kilometers before the Dam's visitors centre.

Riding around KKB town
Climbing the KKB - Fraser's Hill route

Break time
Ye old'e faithful
Poor fitness-level
I  must admit that a month of inactivity had taken a toll on my fitness-level.
The climb was gradual, but with load, its a slower drag compared to riding empty.
We slowly rode towards the Selangor Dam visitor's centre and there was a section which was pretty steep.
Since it was a long climb, I ran out of steam at one of the section and decided that the best course of action was to get down and push the bike for the last 500 meters.
Roger was waiting at a shade, just before the turn to the Dam's visitor's centre.
There is a vending machine there, so, we stopped to rest and quenched our thirst with some 100Plus istonic drink.
This was a pure bliss especially under the scorching sun and blistering heat.
From the Dam, we can see a section leading towards the Pertak orang asli village junction.

Pushing forward
After a good rest, we rode towards Pertak.
It was a smooth journey as we made our way towards the aboriginal settlement.
Roger said the campsite is about 1.2km away.
We scouted the first waterpool and decided that it was too dirty to camp.
Later, we moved to a more suitable location and decided to set up our shelters there and call it a day.. 

Bikecamping - Pertak, Part 1

Something different...
Cyclist Roger Teoh suggested a bike and camping trip to Kuala Kubu Baru.
The destination: Kampung Orang Asli Pertak.
I've hiked along this place a couple of times and its also one of my favourite macro photography locations.
We corresponded via the Malaysian Foldie Forums and decided to set a date for the trip.
Since this kind of ride is entirely new, only two of us had confirmed the trip.
The plan was to take a train to the Kuala Kubu Baru station and cycle to Kg Orang Asli Pertak, some 12km away from where we alight.

Sounds like a plan
I had time to prepare.
The first thing that came to mind was getting a set of collapsible tarp shelter poles.
Corezone outfitters in Petaling Jaya had them on retail and I snapped at the opportunity of scoring to Mountain Safety Research poles.
I had the rest of the gear and got myself a Thermarest Scout Lite sleeping mat. This is small enough to be packed in my Ortlieb backroller pannier.
The thermarest sleeping mat I use: is a 17-year-old long mat which is still in use until today.
For an overnight trip, I need to pack my sleeping gear, cooking utensils and food.

Choices, choices, choices...
There is a price to pay when it comes to hauling the goods. Too heavy means you will be bogged down and when it comes to a steep gradient, you can't push an 8-speed bike on the crank. It just ceases.
For food, I packed two meat items in foil packs, two packs of instant noodles, coffee and tea including one pack of pre-cooked rice from Japan (Top Value from Jusco at RM14.95 for a pack of three 200gm rice). These would be enough to sustain for a night and with spare food for emergency.
When it comes to garment, my choices were a dry-fit short sleeve tee I bought sometime back which is made for Head sporting goods. I also carried a RaceReady long sleeve thermo shirt in case it gets too cold. So, to sum it up, two tees and a long sleeve including an REI Sahara shorts for clothing.
My tarp shelter set up is simple: Fly sheet and ground sheet including some aluminium tent pegs I cannibalized from my Big Agnes Seedhouse 2.0 tent.
I had a roll of Dacron lines for anchoring the poles and flysheet.

Since Roger had no experience in Bikepacking, I planned it in such a way, the trip would be staged from KL Sentral train station.
From there, we take a Komuter/ETS/intercity train to Kuala Kubu Baru.
The ticket for an intercity train ride to KKB costs RM11.20 and it would take about an hour or more to get there.
We carry our bikes in a carry-on bag. 
My choice ride is my trusty 2009 Dahon Speed P8. Roger will be cycling his Tern Joe 24.
We cycle from the train station to KKB town, have an early lunch and ride to the campsite..

Arrival at Kuala Kubu Baru

The bikepackers

Setting up
The journey
There were delays in the train trip.
We paid for the tickets, so, we waited.
When boarding call was made, we loaded the bikes to the coach. I picked a seat which is furthest to the front where we can store the bikes and panniers.
All in all, I lugged about 30kgs of gear for this trip, so, I need to keep an eye on the bike and camping gear.
We left KL Sentral at 10am, arrived in KKB near noon.
When we got there, the equipment needed to be man-hauled across a bridge. 
This proved to be tough for Roger as he had a larger and heavier bike.
Setting up was fast. It took us 15-minutes to get gear up and running.
I had my Speed P8 tuned and serviced a day before. So, things were in good running order and since this is a self-supported ride, everything from spares and recovery kit was covered.
We began to ride to town which is 2km away. 
Roger found a good makan place where we had our lunch...

A decent fare

The makan place

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tern Partners with Munich Transport Authority

Tern Partners with Munich Transport Authority

Portable bike maker offering special-edition bike to encourage use of public transport

TAIPEI, TAIWAN — April 26, 2012 — Urban transport specialist, Tern, today announced its cooperation with Munich’s transportation authority to encourage greater use of portable bicycles on the city’s public transportation network.

Tern is offering a special-edition Link D7i at a special price for use in an initiative by the Munich Public Transport Association (MVV) and\ the Bavarian branch of the ADFC Cycling Association. The goal of the program is to encourage use of portable bicycles on the MVV
transport network, including ICE speed trains, subway, and busses, to help alleviate bicycle parking congestion in front of train stations and the crowding of train cars with “regular” bicycles.

“We’re about encouraging use of environmentally-friendly and sustainable forms of transport,” stated Joshua Hon, Tern vice president. 

“Portable bikes take up very little space when folded and so make the perfect last-mile link on an extensive transport network like the MVV. We’re very happy we can be a participant in such a progressive and forward-looking program.”

Starting at the end of April, about 25 participating Tern dealers in Munich will offer the special-edition bike through various purchase plans tailored for the project. In addition to a special-edition bike, the first 200 participants who sign up for the full-package deal will get an ADFC-MVV edition CarryOn Cover — a bicycle slip/carry cover, an annual ADFC family membership, a free first bicycle inspection, a MVV laptop bag, a tool kit, and cycling maps of Munich.

The Tern Link D7i is a low-maintenance, everyday bike that comes fully-equipped with a rear rack, mudguards, dynamo hub and lights, a Shimano Nexus 7-speed internal gear hub, and a special chain cover.

The bike folds in only 10 seconds into a compact size for easy carrying and storage on a bus, train, or subway car.

For more information about the program (in German) please visit: radfahrer/adfc-mvv-faltrad/index.html?

First impressions: Biologic Android Bike Mount

Surprise! Surprise!
A couple of weeks back, Joshua Hon, VP of Mobility Holdings asked: "What Android phone are you using Sam?" 
I told Josh that I am using the LG Optimus 2X.
There are really cool and exciting things happening at Biologic Biologic's official website and one of the gadgets they are developing is the Android Bike Mount.
This follows the success of the iphone mount and if you are an Android user, the option is now available for you to mount your phone on your bike handlebar.
That said, you can utilise your sports tracking and workout apps or use the Android phones maps and GPS system while on the go.

Coming to a bikestore near you: The Biologic Android Bike Mount
 May 2012 release
Biologic's Android Bike Mount will be available soon.
Josh told me that it took the Biologic team nearly nine months to develop the product.
Now, what's interesting about the Android mount i s the series of liners that you can use to mount your phone inside the protective and water-proof shell.
Four versions of the liners are available for the Android Mount. They are: Samsung Galaxy S11, Galaxy S, LG Optimus 2X and HTC phones.

Bomb-proof! The Android Bike Mount on hand
  Quality, fit and finish
This product is solid right out of the box.
With the liner properly fitted, my LG Optimus 2X phone sits nicely in its protective shell.
The power switch is operated by pressure, so, you really have to press the shell liner's silicon button really hard.
On the touch screen, no issues, it can scroll and swipe like normal.
One thing I like about this protective shell is the feature where you can rotate the shell to portraite or landscape.
The Android Bike Mount is perfect for short distance commute in any weather condition and the supplied bike mounting foot holds firmly to take the rigours of daily riding.

What to expect for Android fans?
Now that the option to mount your Samsung, LG and HTC phone is available, let's hope that Biologic would consider a ReeCharge mount.
If you have a Biologic Joule II dynamo hub, you can rig the Reecharge to power up your Android phone on the move. 
Another product that I would like to see is the Biologic BikeBrain on the Android OS. Josh told me that it wasn't easy to develop this apps compared to the readily available version for IOS on the iphone. But I do sincerely hope that Biologic would look into this.. 

A little makeover...

Giving the Malaysian Foldies its revamp
I started the Malaysian Foldies Forums in December 2011 to give the folding bike users here a knowledge resource.
On it, there's at least a dozen on sub-forums catered to bike users from different brands that are available in the market.
So far, we have 200 members who have signed-up for the forums.
On Malaysian Foldies, they are free to access the latest information on folding bikes and also keep themselves informed of cycling events.

Initially, I wanted a simple header for the forum page..
For this, I turned to a minimalist design. Although it was not quite 'there', it served its purpose. 
I rather have a simple graphic and header to identify the forums and set it apart from the rest.

Meeting a designer
To ramp up things a bit, I engaged Lois Loo @ Wonderkitten to design a simple logo for the forums. The theme was a kitten on a bike.
She gave much thought about this and came up with three sets of visuals. One worked and was chosen as the final artwork..

The final artwork chosen for the forums

An alternative version
Comments and criticism
On the whole, the new logo was well-received.
There were some critical individuals who commented on the artwork. 
They wanted more details like a folding hinge and said that the fork was not centrered and bla-bla-bla.
I don't want to argue with such people as talk is cheap.
Getting the job done is another thing.
So, Kudos Lois for doind such a good job for the benefit of others on the forums.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pedalling around the Peninsula

First of its kind...
You don't find much books written by local authors on bicycle touring.
'Pedalling around the Peninsula' is one such attempt and I must commend the author Sandra Loh for doing so.

The book cover
The low-down
This is a day-by-day account of the author's ride around Peninsular Malaysia.
From Perlis to Tg Piai, Sungai Rengit to Kota Baru, Loh and fellow cyclist Mak Shiau Meng did this feat in 37 days covering more than 2,664km.
The book is well laid-out with detailed maps of the ride and a scrap-book feel to the photos published added a realistic feel to the journey.
Rather than a memoir, this is more like a journal style of writing.
And if you are familiar to's on-line journals, well, Pedalling Around The Peninsula certainly captured the mood.
From a writer's perspective, it could have been done differently.
This book, priced at RM39.90 - lacked that 'ooomph!' in capturing the essence of a long-duration bicycle touring. Nevertheless, it was a good attempt to chronicle a journey from start to end.

I ploughed through this book from start to the end and found that the day-to-day account was too boring. Mid-way through, I got bored..
Perhaps I was biased with some really brilliant journals that were coined in crazyguyonabike by more experienced touring cyclists.
I guess the approach of using personal a journal is a set formula in the production of this book that did not exude originality, but then again, the author did it in her best interest.
Perhaps the photos could be better planned in terms of angles and using too much shots that are redundant. The editing is decent, but again, its the usage of photos that made this read a bit mundane.
Since the event took place some three years ago, I guess it must have been a true challenge in piecing up the story together.
All that said and done, Pedalling Around The Penisula can be an inspiring piece for the beginner who is looking for some inspiration in bicycle touring. 
The least I can say is that I paid RM39.90 to support our local author...

Bicycle touring workshop

Labour day ride
A group of cyclists are putting up a workshop in UPM, Serdang on May 1.
Leading the pack is En Akmal who will be sharing his views on bicycle touring.
Details were put up in, but there are some information that are still sketchy.
From what I gather, a few groups are cycling to the event venue.

A group will leave from KL Sentral to the Serdang Komuter station. 
Then, they will cycle to the UPM.
I don't know exactly the numbers, but their ride leader had clearly indicated that he do not encourage people with ulterior motives to join the event.
Dealers and event organizers are told not to come.

Another group of cyclists are leaving from Bukit Bintang to Serdang. 
This, in my humble opinion, is one of the most dangerous routes to the location given. 
Even on a big biycle, the risks are obvious.

Community cyclists
Of the lot, the longest distance would be logged by a group from USJ in Subang Jaya.
They would be cycling from USJ 3 to Serdang. Good luck and ride safe.

Values and networking
I do certainly hope that something good would come out of this meeting as there are mixed expectations. 
One thing is for sure: it will be an eye-opening experience! 

You can't please everyone

Sometimes, shit happens...
I've been writing about hawker food for more than four years.
During the course, things have been really smooth.
Once a while, I do get some nasty feedback from the readers.

Some good examples
On the first year, I did a feature about a durian seller in USJ14, Subang Jaya. 
The stall offered D24 fruits from RM1 a piece. 
As soon as the article was published, an old-timer rang up to complain. He claimed that there were no more fruits left.
"Eh, you shouldn't run these kind of stories, its false advertisement.." 
The guy went on ranting about wasting petrol money and finding only two fruits left. 
On the article, he was the only guy who rang up.
Some people think their RM1 is as big as a bullock cart..

The char koay teow experience
Some guy emailed me for directions to a char koay teow stall in Port Klang. He wanted opening hours. 
So, being civil, I gave the guy the details.
Today, I received an email from the guy stating his disappointment.
Despite the GPS coordinates given, he got lost.
Then, he said the char koay teow sucked.
Clearly, it wasn't his day...

With much expectations and a car load of hungry children and my equally
hungry wife, we drove from PJ to Klang (looking for the Medan Selera Port
Klang for char keow teow) using the GPS coordinates indicated in your
Article. We drove and what seems to be an extremely long way, we found
ourselves arriving not at the place you have mentioned in your article but
in some backward location within the Port Klang container area. When the
GPS said we have arrived at our destination, it was a place called Bagan
Seafood Restaurant and the surrounding area were fishing ponds. There was
not a single char keow teow shop in sight.

I write to express my great disappointment that you or your colleagues have
not taken the care to ensure the details in your article are correct (the
article was not that long). This had caused great inconvenience and
disappointment to your readers (I am sure some may have encountered the
same problem as us). This was our first outing relying on your directions
and I am not sure where we will end up next time if we rely on your
information in your articles.

Therefore, I really hope that your editorial team will be more meticulous
in checking the contents of your articles to avoid any inconvenience to
your readers. Thanks.

Ps : We finally found our way back to Klang and managed to ask for
directions to the hawker stall. My wife doesn't think much of it as she
feels it was too dry. The next best char keow teow so far for her (next to
the sister's char keow teow in Penang) is the one in Lorong 100 Tahun in
SS2 Petaling Jaya.

Being in this business for more than 20 years, its normal to take brickbats and comments from the readers.
Well, obviously, the guy didn't know how to key in the GPS coordinates. His input method may be wrong as one degree on the map may send you a couple of kilometres off course.
On GPS readings, I did receive some nasty comments from readers who think they knew it all.
For the record, I had received only a few complaints about the articles and having paid for the food I tasted, the opinions rendered were strictly mine.
Having said that, its never been easy to write fairly and fulfill the reader's needs because there are all sorts of people out there... 

Annual vaccination

Yearly check-up
We've been having our dogs for seven years. 
That's the middle-age for our oldest pooch and without fail, they get a booster shot and each tiime the vaccination is recorded on their health card, we renew their dog license.
This year is no different from previous years as the kidz were given a clean bill of health.

Worrying issues
I fould a cyst on my gurl. 
There is a lump the size of an almond on the soft side of her foreleg's lymph nodes. 
 Its been there since a year ago and I was told that if the growth gets bigger, it has to be surgically-removed. 
Other than that, the gurl is fine.

Mrs Samo leading Queenie to the vet across the road
The gurl getting her jab
 License renewal
The local by-law states that a dog license must be renewed every year. 
To qualify for renewal, the owner must present their dog's vaccination card. 
Waiting for the license to be renewed is another thing. Its an agony to go to the local council's head office to get the job done as there are many people there. Usually, it'll take half a day.. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A slow-shutter day

Standby, standby, standby...
The Powershot G1X may be one flawed camera.
But if you understand its shortcomings, you will get some really good shots from it.
Its large sensor can produced some really interesting photos.
I lugged this camera to Templer's Park with the intention of snapping some water flow shots from its streams.
The objective is to hike up to the waterfall and set up a shot using a tripod to steady the frame with shutter speed settings down to 60sec.

My first shot: A subject at the falls, notice the ghosting due to movement..
Built-in ND filter...
Like its predecessor, the G1X comes with an built-in Neutral Density filter. When you set it, the images would not be overexposed during long exposure shots.
The LCD viewing panel helped in framing the shot, but this will drain the camera's battery really fast.
To get a soft effect on the water flow, I set the camera to capture with Shutter Priority (TV-mode) and toggled down the shutter speed to 4, 10, 15 and 30 seconds.
The bracketed shots revealed the water movement in a very soothing manner. I loved the effect.

I should have brought my travel tripod instead of my Slik Mini-Pro tabletop tripod.
What I shot was from a low angle using a remote shutter release trigger.
It would have been interesting to see the falls from eye-level. Maybe next time, I'll bring my large tripod.


Templer's Park revisited

Two and a-half decades later...
The guys from Malaysia Knife Forums had organised a day hike to Templer's Park in Hulu Kanching, Selangor.
I snapped this opportunity to visit one of my favourite haunts back in the days.
Two and a-half decades ago, my Scout troop used to organize competition and training camps in the Park.
We actually hiked about 2km into the trail to set up camp and stayed there for nearly a week.

HW Wong hiking along the trail..

The MKF gang, mid-way through the hike
The middle ages..
Now, fast-forward to the present - the only contact I had was the Scouts training camp at the outskirts of Templer's Park.
Today, there is a paved trail to the park's gate.
The path has been widened with plenty of public amenities built for the convenience of the park's visitors.
Back in the day, there is a caretaker that charges RM1 per entry.
They are not there anymore as the park is managed by the state.
Trip leader Ah Keong and a few other guys from the Malaysia Knife Forum including its President Mr HW Wong was punctual.
Only one guy who signed up didn't check-in because he ended up in Banting.. (Don't ask me why..).
We began to hike up the trail and moved slowly towards the waterfall area.
Along the way, I found plenty of thrash that was left behind by some irresponsible people..

Wild mushrooms

At an old spot: the waterfall

With the MKF gang
Hi, ho, hi, ho, hi, ho...
We reached a rest area near the waterfall.
Now this is the place where I had plenty of fond memories.
Its still good for photography.
Some of the guys stayed behind while Ah Keong, Walther, Wong and I went out to check the second-tier of the falls.
We hiked up for about 20 minutes and reached a pool area.
The path was blocked by fallen branches.
Wong decided not to push on because he didn't want to get his shoes wet.
We were the only guys who had our full gear strapped to our back.
For me, it was an opportunity to hike in the jungle and use my trusty Kifaru Scout pack.
Later, we headed down to the campsite and while the guys ate their packed lunch, I decided to work on my slow-shutter shots on my G1X compact digital camera.

Good memories!
Templer's Park still has what it takes for a day hike and macro outing.
But for camping, I think its in dire need of a clean-up.
Re-visiting the campgrounds gave me plenty of good memories about the park.
We hung around the area till noon and hiked out.
Ah Keong, Walther and Marcus, the guy who ended up in Banting had followed me to a makan place near Rawang where we had some real good food.
Way I see it, the MKF guys had done a great job in organizing the outing.
Ah Keong, a part-time wilderness guide, kayakist and outfitter has plenty of potential in leading the forum members in activities as such. I hope he will keep up the good work!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Journey to Port Klang - Part 2

Joe slow..
I was hauling some 20kgs of gear on my left and right panniers.
This made things really slow.
Average speed was 11.4km/h as I was staggering due to weeks of inactivity, the rest began to pull away.
So, fast-forward to the South Port, we arrived at the rally point after nearly two hours.
For the record, we did good time and had arrived safely.
But the shocker was to see just half of the 30-odd cyclists at the Pulau Ketam jetty area...

My job at Port Klang was to clear as many Photo Malaysia members as possible.
I spotted two guys who were waiting there and showed them the way to the ferry terminal.
A middle-aged guy who came without a bicycle was asking around. 
Roger, Chew and Wilson was okay with waiting as I directed the rest of the flock towards the jetty.
Later, I went down to the pontoon to clear with SK Yeong, the ride organizer.
Just as I was about to leave the platform, one of the cyclists shouted out: "Oi! Samuel, help load the lady's bike onto the boat!".
My knee-jerk reaction was: "What the fuck?"
One of the lady who overshot to the North Port was alighting onto the boat.
I didn't want to create a scene and helped her to load her bike, then - one-by-one, the lady riders started to board.
They were the first batch who overshot towards the North port terminal.

Team Char Koay Teow reprised: Samo, Chew & Roger

Loading the bikes onto the ferry..
I was really annoyed at the ape on a bike who was showing off his prowess to the ladies by shouting orders. Rather than exploding into a fit of rage, I kept my composure. 
But my concerned wasn't the cyclists at all, it was more focused on the Photo Malaysia members as few of them had showed up.
Yeong too was concerned as a couple of people had showed up late.
The last person I cleared at the jetty was a young man. He was rather blur and after prompting a response, I quickly showed him to the jetty where the crowd was already waiting. He was the last Photo Malaysia participant who boarded the ferry. All was well.

An unforseen situation...
Wilson and I rode towards Port Klang town. 
Our next mission, was to score an early lunch at a Char Koay Teow stall.
Then, Roger blared his air horn.
It was a distress call...

 Roger showing off a 3mm piece of wire pulled out from his bike's rear tire
We circled back and found out that Roger's Tern Joe D24 had experienced a puncture on its rear tire.
Cycling along the debris-strewn route had taken its toll on one of our team mates.
Chew, who is one of the more experienced cyclist, went to work on removing the skewer on the wheel. 
I removed my saddle bag to get my tire levers and started working on the Schwalbe Big Apple.
We found a wire measuring about 3mm embedded on the tire wall. This was the cause of the damage.
After an inner tube change, the bike was back in action.
From Port Klang, we rode towards a hawker centre, about 1km away.
There, I treated the team to the town's Char Koay Teow.
We chat a bit before hitting the road.
Our destination was the Federal Highway motorcycle lane near Taman Berkeley.

Fixing the problem...

Near the outskirts of Klang town

Chatting with an old-timer in Klang...
The journey back
We needed to get to the Federal Highway motorcycle lane near Sungai Rasau.
The heat from the mid-day sun was getting to us.
As we slowly progressed, I did a mental map of Shah Alam.
The undulating terrain was something that I didn't expect. But, this was similar to a section in the KESAS highway.
Slowly, we crunched our gears, working it out to clear at least 21km from Klang towards the Subang Jaya exit on the motorcycle lane.
While we were cycling on a long climb, the hot weather was slowly taking a toll on my strength.
We took a break at a Petronas station before pushing off to the Shah Alam toll near Batu Tiga, which was situated on a plateau on a series of hilly rolls.

The final push: Shah Alam toll

Tea break at SS13 A&W restaurant
We did good time by clearing the Federal Highway and rode towards Subang Jaya.
At SS14, the traffic jam was building up.
Cars were hogging the road as we slowly manouvered our bicycles towards Persiaran Kewajipan and after clearing the roundabout, we made our way to A&W restaurant and Wilson had treated us to a round of Root Beer!
We continued conversing and decided to call it a day after completing the ride.
As far as my obligation is concerned, I delivered what was promised to the Photo Malaysia guys.
We decided to offer our space to the cyclists as stated earlier and I was glad that Roger, Chew and Wilson were there to provide the awesome company.
Hopefully, we will set out on a ride again.